Kingdom Hearts has a lot of enemies. We’ve got the Heartless, the Nobodies, the Unversed, the Dream Eaters, the random Disney and Final Fantasy villains who decide to show up, and Riku on a bad day. So if you want to virtually hit something on the head with a giant key until it explodes, you’re in the right place! Counting down the six best (and worst) enemy designs of the Kingdom Hearts series—in no particular order.
6 Best Enemy Designs
Shadow is a classic, and there’s a reason why it’s a mascot of the series. It’s small, it’s cute, and it’s still scary if you’re surrounded by a swarm of them. Shadows have simple designs that work well.
One of the first Bosses you encounter in Kingdom Hearts II, the Twilight Thorn is a great example of a Nobody. Intimidating, pointy and sleek, it’s no slouch to fight either. Plus it sort of has a stylish scarf? That might also be part of its neck. We’re unclear at this point.
This one is a personal favorite of mine. After getting repeatedly and horribly stuck on it in the first Kingdom Hearts, I developed a fondness for it. However, it’s on this list because it perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Wonderland – it’s fun, it’s whimsical and it’s bizarre all rolled into one. It’s also probably going to hit you in the face with a juggling club.
Organization XIII – Black Cloak
While the individual members of Organization XIII have varying designs, ranging from the cool to the uh, emo (looking at you there, Zexion) they all wear the cloak. Like the Shadow above, it’s easy to see why this has become emblematic of the Kingdom Hearts series. It’s simple, it’s mysterious and it looks really, really cool.
While not all of the Mushroom Heartless are technically enemies – some just want a quick ice bath – there are a lot who are very quick to attack you, like the Black Fungus. These guys make the list for being super cute, even when they are trying to murder you, and for being a fun, creative way to incorporate Fantasia, an iconic Disney movie, into the Kingdom Hearts mythos. For the first game at least, it’s fun to see the movie represented in a way that isn’t from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
I can’t think of another enemy or character design that encapsulates the core of the Kingdom Hearts series so well. First off, Vanitas Remnant looks absolutely boss. But secondly, the black and white design, the bizarre markings, the overly complicated keyblade? Sums up the games fairly well. They’re weird, overly complicated, but they’re just so gosh darn pretty (and fun!).
6 Worst Enemy Designs
World of Chaos
Ooog. This looks like something that H.R. Giger sneezed out in his sleep. It’s colorful, it’s messy, it’s chaotic, and it’s just really unappealing. It also doesn’t help that the boss fight gets a little annoying when you’re fighting a behemoth who’s 58 times larger than you are.
I understand that Shoegazer is a type of music, and given the affinity the series has for musical enemies, I think it’s cool they tried to do something different with this one. That said, it looks like an emo bat poking out of the top of a really ugly boot. Boots are most definitely not an intimidating enemy to fight.
Most of the Dream Eaters look like neon nightmare versions of Pokemon who went through some sort of botched plastic surgery. This one especially so. Even in its spirit form, I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be terrifying or funny or the obligatory teammate that everyone says “Well I’m glad he’s on MY side, I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of that.”
Not a fan of monkeys to begin with, and Powerwilds are annoying enough, but Bouncywilds really push that over the edge. Their annoying long range shots, their faux-cutesy design and the heinous pink color from Kingdom Hearts Final Mix? No thank, hard pass.
Really, neon splatter does no one any favors. It looks like someone took Gary the Snail and threw a bunch of sharpies at him. Again, snails aren’t exactly the most intimidating foes, and having two marshmallows stuck on the front of your face does nothing to enhance that.
Ugh. This one gets points for being intimidating, because jellyfish are actually freakishly scary, even if they do look like giant gumball machines. But enemies that keep breaking up the more you defeat? Already saw that once in Atlantica, we didn’t need to see that again.
What designs do you think are the best? The worst? Let us know in the comments below!